Claim for Child Brain Damage at Birth

Can you explain how I can claim for child brain damage at birth? My son has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy after a complicated birth and I think that if the paediatrician had been present throughout my labour my son’s injuries could have been prevented.

You are right to consider making a claim for child brain damage at birth if you believe your son’s brain injuries could have been prevented by receiving the appropriate level of care during a complicated birth.

The array of medical equipment available to doctors and nurses has made the birth process much safer for both mother and child, and it is now easier than ever before to identify potential problems and for action to be taken to prevent a child from coming to harm during a complicated labour.

This does not mean that all birth injuries can be prevented, and even highly skilled paediatricians may not be able to prevent brain damage to a child at birth, even with the medical resources now available. In many cases it is not possible to predict or prevent brain damage to a child at birth, even when the best possible medical care is provided.

In your case, the absence of the paediatrician throughout the entire birth process may have been the reason why action was not taken promptly enough to prevent your son’s birth injuries. When a problem arises it requires rapid action to be taken to ensure any harm caused to a child is kept to the minimum possible level.

The question which must be answered before it is possible to claim compensation for child brain damage is whether the presence of a paediatrician would have resulted in action being taken to prevent your son’s injuries. Although you believe this to be the case, in order for brain damage at birth claims to be successful this must be established and proven.

It is not possible to obtain absolute proof that a birth injury to a child could have been prevented to support brain damage at birth claims, and as a consequence of this it is only necessary to prove ‘on the balance of probabilities’ the injury could have been prevented or its severity reduced. To determine this it is necessary to analyse the sequence of events of your birth to establish whether the hospital staff had acted with incompetence or in a negligent manner.

To prove clinical negligence in a claim for child brain damage at birth you will need assistance from a specialist clinical negligence solicitor. An investigation will need to be conducted to determine how your son was allowed to come to harm during the birth process, and all involved parties will need to be contacted to build a picture of the sequence of events that led to your son suffering brain damage. The case will then need to be reviewed by a medical expert to determine whether the injuries resulted from negligence of the staff; be that the paediatrician, midwife or nursing staff for failing to call in the paediatrician more quickly.

If negligence can be proven and the actions of the hospital staff are found to have been the primary cause of your son’s injuries, it should be possible for you to recover compensation for child brain damage and a solicitor will ensure the maximum possible settlement is obtained.